The Government of Guyana’s consultation of the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) 2030 in Region One (Barima-Waini) on Saturday was well attended by people from villages such as Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Kwebanna, Warapoka, Walaba, Himara and Father’s Beach.
The residents have expressed their commitment to work with the Government to ensure the success of the programme but requested specialized persons to be the coordinator between the villages and the LCDS team.
The villagers from communities across the sub-region expressed the need for LCDS Technical officers, who should be chosen from the respective villages. These officers must be trained and continually work alongside the government and the rest of the LCDS team. In doing so, the LCDS officers will be better able to communicate to their local community, since some members do not have a clear understanding of the LCDS and how it will benefit their communities. According to residents, understanding the LCDS, the aims and benefits will definitely win the support of many more Amerindian communities.
Participation in the LCDS is voluntary for the indigenous communities which are dispersed throughout the country’s forested regions.
The need for local LCDS workshops was also voiced by residents, who believe that local workshops will also foster their understanding and participation in the developmental strategy.
For instance, Oswell Brescenio, a concerned resident stated that after many years, he was able to gain some understanding of the LCDS during the Consultation. He believes that more workshops and local teams should be set up to do outreaches as often as possible to engage the Indigenous communities in Region One.
The LCDS 2030 builds on the 2009 and 2013 strategies.
The residents are also requesting that local residents be trained to monitor the forest and other sectors such as the mining areas, in each community. Trained persons should be able to give direct guidance to their villagers since training sessions will equip them with the theoretical as well as practical knowledge that is needed to support the LCDS 2030.
Additionally, many residents stated that LCDS should be knitted into the education system, especially through the school feeding program and the curriculum guide. Further, it was noted that the funds toward each child for the School feedings program is not sufficient therefore, more money earned from the sale of carbon footprints should be invested into this program, so students will be provided with nutritious meals, which will help them to function better throughout the school day.
Marlin Wilson, a teacher, states that the LCDS 2030 should be a part of the school’s curriculum guide, and be taught in schools, so the younger generations will grasp the concept of LCDS at an early age.
The residents expressed concern for general infrastructures, such as proper roads and better access to water. According to residents, in some areas, the roads are improper and accessing water is very difficult, especially during the dry season. They believe that the LCDS should aim to continue to fix and expand specific areas such as water and roads to aid in the development of Indigenous communities.
The residents promised that once support and encouragement are given by the Government and the LCDS team, they will put in great efforts in helping to build a new low carbon economy. According to Gavin Henry, “We will continue to work with the government for development.”
The Government is currently consulting on the draft strategy to ensure the buy-in of all stakeholders to prepare the final document.
The session was conducted by Hon. Collin Croal, Minister of Housing and Water and Vanessa Benn, who is assisting with the LCDS country-wide consultations. Minister Croal informed the residents that the country is able to harness its resources to gain funds for development, and that “Every Guyanese must have an option to be a part of the growth.”
Further, he encouraged “More persons should be able to play a role to serve their communities, which allows for shared leadership.”
Minister Croal and Benn were able to carefully listen to and address the concerns and questions of the people who attended the consultation.